Half Truths, Partial Lies, and Manic Egomania: Memoirs of a Poet, 1.0

12 Apr

CHAPTER ONE The Beginning Always Starts at the Hands of Another’s Actions

They were too stupid to fire me. They being the managers of the different companies I toiled for over the course of 20 something years. Even thought I offered every opportunity but they never took it. Until one fine Autumn day, I fired them, them being the current incompetents that ran Rival Company (the company that took over the Company.) On or about November 16, 2007 Rival Company deposited two very large checks in my bank account and my career as a Regional Vice President of a Mid-Sized Chemical manufacturer came to an end. In fact my career in Chemical Sales came to an end. In fact my career in CORPORATE AMERICA came to an end, or so I thought

In early April of 2007 a group of managers were told to drop everything, regardless of location, task at hand, vacation or otherwise, and dial into a corporate conference call. I took the call while racing back from Needles, California on I40. The week started in Las Vegas, where the Company had a chemical plant (didn’t know there were chemical plants in Las Vegas did you?). Typical reasons to visit. Work with customer service, the lab, plant management on sales related issues, attend seven meetings of varying length and interest, take two customers to expensive dinners, hire a hooker for a blowjob behind the MGM grand, drink until I can no longer stand and so on. As I said, typical.

After receiving my mission from the caller on the phone I veered manically off the freeway to a rest stop just north of Ludlow, California. It would have been more fortunate to get the call completed prior to the Ludlow exit in order to take a descent shit in a proper bathroom but things never seem to work out the way you plan them. Several of my friends were on vacation so I knew they would be calling in from tropical destinations. Depending on how you looked at it that might be a bad thing or a good. During my marriage I took every call from anyone. It offered a respite from her yammering and bitching.

I pulled into a corner spot in the front of the parking lot next to a BMW 750i and a Volkswagen Micro Bus. The Micro Bus bounced with insane rhythm, the top of a brunette woman’s head appearing during the up cycle of the bounce. She glanced over at me and smiled. In the BWM a diminutive Asian American Gentleman screamed into his phone in rapid Cantonese. Being fluent in the language I laughed at the conversation. His wife had forgotten to pick up the laundry and bought the wrong brand of soap. Or so I thought. He smiled as well.

As the sun began to peak over the Eastern horizon I lit a cigarette, sat on top of a picnic bench and watched people pass me by. I had ten minutes before the con-call would commence. My head continued to pound and I realized I hadn’t eaten enough breakfast. I glanced at the food machines but grimaced. There were be consequences if I went for the Twinkie/Diet Coke breakfast. Shit farting on the high desert is nothing but messy. For the last four months I had been traveling the Western United States 18 of 20 work days in a given month. Driving, flying, eating in greasy spoons, talking to morons and dipwads, working with miscreants and naysayers. Salt Lake City, Elko, St. George, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sacramento, Mojave, Las Vegas, Mesquite, Alamo, Rene, Winnamucca, Sheridan, Bozeman, Calipatria, San Diego, Ogden, Portland, Seattle, and it all started in Spokane, Washington on January 3 and would end in that rest stop outside of Ludlow.

In the course of three weeks, two of five sales reps quit, one announced retirement, and another one had a brain hemorrhage and died on a golf course. He didn’t even like to golf. Since it takes more than a few days to hire a decent sales rep I hit the road. At first I didn’t mind. Over the course of my career I had traveled for business. Not a big deal. But nothing like this had ever happened. There were weeks where I flew into 10 different airports or drove more than 6000 miles. A different motel every night in a different town. I didn’t mind Elko so much or the little towns in Gold Country up in North Eastern Nevada. Plenty of legal whorehouses, cheap booze and an expense account I became expert at hiding things on, but other towns were not fun. Salt Lake City, obviously and most of Utah, all of Idaho, parts of Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregan, and Phoenix, especially Phoenix, suck.

At the appointed time I dialed the number and password, entered the con-call just as they were doing roll call. It took forty minutes for the collective lives of seventy VPs, Managers and Sales Representatives to change. The President of the Company, who I will call Jesus, to protect the real name, and my ass from lawsuits and tersely written letters, droned on for 37 of those minutes before we got to the punch line. On behalf of the shareholders, Jesus accepted an offer from Rival company to purchase the Company.

As the sun began to bake the asphalt, turkey vultures took to the sky in search of road kill and puppies. I watched an elderly couple hold hands as they walked from the restrooms to their 36 foot long mega RV. A family of immigrants reviewed a map with complete confusion and a truck driver scratched at his balls as he rushed from his rig to the men’s room. I hung up the cell and sighed.

“Sold! To the highest bidder!” I shouted, before I returned to the drivers seat and continued my voyage back to the home office.

Within ten minutes I received another commandment from Jesus that all the Regional Manager’s and VPs had another con-call. I barely made it to Barstow and a parking spot at MacDonald’s when the call began. Jesus wasted no time in telling each of us our cut of the deal.

“Each of you may qualify for nine months pay, full vestment of 401K and a departure bonus, if you choose to leave.”

Someone asked before I could.

“A departure bonus is for staying until Our Company becomes Rival Company.”

Significant sums of money made my brain spin. It took ninety-seven minutes to drive from Barstow to Toad Suck, my fictional home town. I don’t remember a conscious moment. My brain burned through scenarios and as I pulled behind the only bar in Downtown T.S. I decided.

“Fuck this job,” I muttered. It took ten minutes to unload my gear and relocate to my home office in the apartment above the bar. It took three minutes after I turned my phone back on for the in-box to fill. The rumors began in earnest at that moment.

When my home phone rang I had already stripped down to my boxers and black dress socks, a usual uniform for working out of the house.

“Hello?”

“So what do you think?” Bubba Crumwell spoke slow and directly. We were co-managers of the region, a situation I found distasteful, primarily because I had little respect for his ability and that he sucked the ass of our boss on a daily basis.

“I think I’m going to make some money.”

“Well, you should think about it.”

“I did. On the drive home. I’m out.”

“Still…”

“Still nothing. Out. O-U-T.” I felt glee, joy, insane relief. For 25 years I busted my balls playing the corporate fuckwad game and now I had an out. O-U-T. Out, motherfuckers! I raised my arms like a prize fighter entering the ring.

“What would you do?”

“Go back to school,” I said quickly.

“And do what?”

“Get my M-F-A. Creative writing.” I hung up before his fat lips could form a sentence and laughed. “I’m gonna be a professor of poetry!” My arms went up again, still simulating a prize fighter. That formed a moment one wants to revisit later in life when the thing you pursue turns out to be an expensive waste of time.

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